Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

LACIS Outreach Coordinator Engages in School Visits

by Sarah Ripp, LACIS Outreach Coordinator & Undergraduate Advisor

This past April I had the opportunity to engage in a couple of school visits that exemplify the good work LACIS does on behalf of our Title VI Grant (through the U.S. Department of Education).

On April 29th I had the opportunity to visit my son’s 1st grade class–led by Ms. Anita Thorpe at Lodi Elementary School–to speak about Cuba. In advance of my visit I provided Ms. Thorpe with a simple art project where the children could made their own maracas.  During my presentation I showed them a PowerPoint which  covered topics such as Cuban cuisine, geography, sports, education and the arts.  We listened to Cuban music, danced and played with our maracas! I read to the kids and shared with them some of the similarities and differences between the U.S. and Cuban educational systems.


Sarah Ripp & 1st Grade Students at Lodi Elementary School.
Sarah Ripp & 1st Grade Students at Lodi Elementary School.

In early May, I visited Molly Meck’s Latin American History class at Middleton High School.  During this visit I spoke I shared a presentation called “High School…to College…to Career: Your Future in Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies.” I spoke to them about the value of majoring in area studies at the college level and continuing or beginning foreign language study. We discussed options to study abroad in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain and Portugal through UW-Madison.  In addition, I shared examples of alumni of our program working in various fields around the world who are actively utilizing their background in Latin American and foreign language studies. Molly had this to say about the visit: “It was a great opportunity for students to see how useful area studies truly can be. My hope is students will be encouraged to continue their studies of Latin America beyond our classroom and beyond high school.”